Church of Saints Simon and Helena

Minsk, Belarus

Church of Saints Simon and Helen, also known as the Red Church, is a neo-Romanesque church designed by polish architects Tomasz Pajzderski and Władysław Marconi. It was built between 1905-1910. The bricks for its walls were sourced from Częstochowa, whilst the roof tiles came from Włocławek. Its construction was financed by Edward Woyniłłowicz, a prominent Belarusian civic activist. The church was named and consecrated in memory of Woyniłłowicz's deceased children, Szymon and Helena.

In 1903, about 2,000 Minsk's Catholics wrote a petition to local authorities asking for a site to start building new catholic church. This request was satisfied, and construction started in 1905. The church was consecrated on September 20, 1910. On December 21, 1910, the church was opened.

In 1923, the church was robbed by the Red Army and in 1932 it was closed down by the Soviet authorities and transferred to the State Polish Theatre of the BSSR. Before the Second World War, the church was rebuilt into a cinema.

In 1941, the German occupation administration returned to building to its original use as a church, but after the war it was again used as a cinema, called the 'Soviet Belarus.'

In 1990, the building was returned to the Catholic Church. Since then it was renovated, and became an important centre of religious, cultural and social life. It also became a centre for the revived Belarusian Greek Catholic Church.

In 2006, Edward Woyniłowicz, the church's donator who died in 1928 in Bydgoszcz, Poland, was reburied here.

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Founded: 1905-1910
Category: Religious sites in Belarus

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Emiley John Reddy (8 months ago)
History and still standing strong a long 111 years and more
D P Rogers (8 months ago)
Beautiful church in distinctive red brick. Wonderfully preserved.
Justin Hamblen (14 months ago)
Beautiful red brick church. I wish I spoke Belarusian to be able to read more about the relics inside. Well worth a trip!
Pałanka Pašvandoūka (15 months ago)
Historical church opened 'day and night', government made 'restoration' there - and everything is much worse than was before. But you still can find a beautiful church with electro organelle, pray as far as you need and buy some church goods. Library, chapel for private pray (well, it is nearly always too loud around, but the Holy Gifts are always showed for adoration.) Poor toilet, take own toilet paper is better.
Giorgio Berardi (2 years ago)
A beautiful church with a sad story, as it was apparently built to commemorate a son and daughter who died at a green age and who had shared with their parents having dreamt of a church just like the one that can be admired today. The comparatively new (1910) church building - like so many religious buildings in the territories of the former Soviet Union - then went through a change of purpose, being used as a cinema for most of the Soviet period, and reverting to its original use only under newly-independent Belarus.
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